, Volume 113, Issue 1-3, pp 283-305
Date: 06 Jul 2012

Soil nutrient’s spatial variability in forest–tundra ecotones on the Kola Peninsula, Russia

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Abstract

This article addresses spatial variability in soil nutrients in altitudinal and latitudinal forest–tundra ecotones in the Kola Peninsula, Russia. Higher total carbon, nitrogen, and bio-available nutrients were found in the organic horizons of latitudinal ecotone against the background of lower nutrients in soil-forming rock. This is supposedly related to higher contribution of nutrient-rich plants in latitudinal ecotone and intense downward within-profile matter migration in the altitudinal ecotone. Elevated bio-available soil nutrients in spruce forests compared with birch forests and tundra sites, and in birch forests compared with tundra against the background of different trends in the soil-forming rock were attributed to the effects of predominant plants. The effects of predominant plants on soil nutrients were distinctly pronounced at the level of site patches. Soil-forming rock effects on soil nutrients were clear at the level of zones/belts and the whole ecotones. Strong negative correlations between the soil nutrients and altitudes were explained by replacement of vascular plants by low-ash lichens at higher elevations.